Where do spam texts and calls come from?

More importantly: how do you stop them?

John Swanson | Photo Courtesy
Sick of all the emails? Put an end to it now.

Everyone who has a phone will inevitably receive gracious amounts of spam, and not the good kind (canned ham of course).

For me, spam texts are a common occurrence, usually being hassled upon me in droves. All of them are from unknown numbers, typically from out of state and most commonly (and infamously in my perspective) pretending that I am a different person with names such as “Estella.”

Most of these texts offer ways to get good buying deals if you “follow this link,” learn how to lose weight if you “follow that link” or “win hundreds of dollars by subscribing to this thread” or my favorite one, “Wow, Estella, I could go to jail for sending you this link.”

A week ago I received the most bizarre text which said something along the lines of: “I’m a sugar daddy, and you’re my sugar baby. I need someone to spend my money on and you’re it.” I knew I was many things but never knew I was anything in the “sugar” department.

I know I’m not the only one who has these problems. I also know I’m not the only one who blocks the number and deletes the text. But this does not keep them away for long.

Spam texts come from fake accounts from senders through a computer. You probably will have noticed this by seeing that some of the texts come from an obviously fake email account with one sender for hundreds of different spam texts you may get. The goal of these senders is to extort or defraud the person they are contacting.

In one situation, an employee at the retirement home I worked at took a spam call that said her social security had been hacked and she had to withdraw all her savings. Panicked, she rushed to her bank and tried to withdrew all her money to send it to a “safe” link the defrauders had sent her.

Thankfully the bank tellers were cautious about this, pointed out that she was being extorted and advised her to call the actual police, which she did and she was saved from the deception.

How do we stop them? 

First of all, the defrauders do not always send texts, but also call up with another number. The best thing you can do is to ignore them, do not reply to the text or call, then block and report it to be spam. If you get a call from a number you do not trust, do not dismiss it right away, instead, wait for the call to ring itself out and then block the number.

A mentor experienced in the electronic field advised me that if you dismiss the call immediately, you have inadvertently given the defrauders a sign of life. They will continue to call you perhaps under different numbers. Hey, thieves and liars need some way to make money you know? If you do not answer, they may think the phone is unused or had no
owner and leave you alone.

Bottom line, the way you can prevent spam texts and calls is to step back and ignore them, making sure to report and block them. It may not stop them in the long run, but it will keep you safe from coercion. In this digital age, it is best to be as safe as possible and sometimes that means pretending not to exist to those who would want to take advantage
of that.

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